Will your electronic vote be counted?
May 25, 2004
To the editor:

Please pass this along to your readers.

In order for everyone's vote to affect the outcome of this election, it must be counted. As November nears we must act now to ensure that our voting systems produce accurate and verifiable results.

Right now, some states are planning to use machines that will not allow voters to verify their choices. This means that any flaws in the machine or software will never be caught -- and no recount will be possible. And the head of the largest e-voting machine company -- who is a major contributor to George Bush and has promised to deliver Ohio to him -- asks that we just trust him.

Today we call on Congress and the states to require any electronic voting machine used in this election to produce a paper trail -- one that allows voters to verify their choices and officials to conduct recounts. Add your name to the call for accountability by clicking here. We will deliver the petition to Congress and the secretaries of state of every state planning to use electronic voting machines.

Casting a vote is the most fundamental action we take as citizens. But voting is not a symbolic act -- the last presidential election demonstrated that every vote matters. Our responsibility in the months before November is to ensure that this time, every vote will be counted.

Editor's note:

According to Dr. David L. Dill of Stanford University, touch-screen voting machines store records of cast votes in internal memory, where the voter cannot check them. Because of our system of secret ballots, once the voter leaves the polls there is no way anyone can determine whether the vote captured was what the voter intended. "Why should voters trust these machines?" is a question Dill tried to answer last December when he drafted a "Resolution on Electronic Voting" stating that every voting system should have a "voter verifiable audit trail," a permanent record of the vote that can be checked for accuracy by the voter, and which is saved for a recount if it is required. He has received endorsements from many prominent computer scientists but has become embroiled in a fierce and time consuming battle that continues today. (Click here for the resolution and much more information on electronic voting.) "We still don't have an answer for why we shoud trust electronic voting machines, but a lot of evidence has emerged for why we should NOT," Dill said.

David L. Dill is a Professor of Computer Science and, by courtesy, Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. He has been on the faculty at Stanford since 1987, when he received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie-Mellon University. His primary research interests relate to the theory and application of formal verification techniques to system designs, including hardware, protocols, and software. He has also done research in asynchronous circuit verification and synthesis, and in verification methods for hard real-time systems. He was named aFellow of the IEEE in 2001 for his contributions to verification of circuits and systems.

He served on the Secretary of State of California's Ad Hoc Task Force on Touch Screen Voting in 2003, which recommended that all new election equipement be required to have a voter verifiable audit trail after 2006. He is a member of the IEEE P1583 Voting Equipment Standard Committee, and a member of the DRE Citizen's Oversight Committee of Santa Clara County.

For an article, "Will electronic voting skew the 2004 election?" previously published in The Joplin Independent click here.

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